Posts tagged travel

But you are

a chosen people,

a royal priesthood,

a holy nation,

God’s special possession,

That you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness

into His wonderful light.

I Peter 2v9

I am just now emerging from that fog called jet lag. We arrived home from Albania in the wee hours of last Tuesday filled to the brim with thanksgiving for what God did in our midst.

Phil and I had been invited to come to Albania to teach the Intentional Parents: raising passionate Jesus followers conference to a group of leaders who would determine if our material would effectively cross the barriers of culture, making it applicable to the Church in Albania.

On the last night of the conference, one of the leaders who invited us asked people to come to the front and tell us how our teaching had impacted their lives.

We listened in awe, humbled and energized by their words. What we heard made all the work of preparation and study and speaking through translators and jet lag and fatigue… worth it.

Over and over we saw mothers and fathers who caught the vision of intentionally passing on their faith to the next generation.

Parents who now see their children as the hope for Albania- and as bearers of the Gospel to a side of the world that needs Jesus desperately.

Albania is a nominally Muslim country with open doors and friendly relations with nations that are closed to most westerners. Turkey loves Albanians, Syria welcomes them with open arms. They have the support and sympathy of nearly every Muslim country in the world— countries closed to Americans and most Europeans.

Because of that, we realized together that-

If this generation of Jesus following Albanian parents

make disciples of their own children,

they can quite possibly change our world!

Which is why I am already looking forward to going back next year. Their plan is to have us come back with a team (more about that later) and put on the Intentional Parents conference in the capital, Tirana, and then for a gathering of churches in southern in Albania.

On the long flight home, all I could think about was this idea of God giving us dreams that are too big for us.


He takes our barely there dreams—

the ones we hardly dare voice out loud,

the dreams we know we don’t have what it takes to do—

and He infuses us with more than we are, and does more than we dare dream.

Why aren’t we talking about this every day of our lives?

This great thing, this magnificent work of God… in us and thru us and for us and to us.

I have absolutely loved hearing about your dreams. Not one of them has sounded outlandishly impossible to me… and yet so many of you are just like me… sort of apologetic about the dreams you harbor.

Why is that?

I think it’s because we are afraid: of failure, of mediocrity, of standing out from the crowd, of looking foolish, of our not-enoughness.

We are afraid because we think these God-inspired sparks of compelling desire are our own responsibility… and we know we are not up for the task.

Look at me: A shy introvert who quakes at the very thought of people turning to look at me. A back row kind of girl. Super serious and introverted, born without a funny bone, who rarely grasps the punch line of a joke. Who doesn’t actually like to travel. And on top of all that? Deaf.

That woman— the me that I am in real life— went to Albania, spoke in front of a room full of leaders… who laughed at my unplanned jokes… and learned from my raw stories.

If I can dream, just think what God might do with you?

From a heart still tired but immensely satisfied,


P.S. Okay, please, I am craving a few more honest, hope-filled possibilities of how you dare dream God may use you and your story. 

Your courage just  might light a fire of desire in those of us who are held back by fears.  


This morning I woke up far away from my cottage in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. Instead of the pungent smells of pine and cedar, I drink in the scent of the sea. And instead of my pot of steaming tea, I sip slowly from a foamy bowl filled with cappuccino served with a spoon. In just a few hours a group of hand-picked parents will make their way from Albania’s capital city, Tirana, to the coastal town of Durres, on the edge of the Adriatic Sea.


These are leaders— in business, in government, in NGO’s, in churches. They are followers of Jesus in a country that is nominally Muslim and predominately atheistic.

And they have kids. Children they love who are being raised in a culture that goes against everything they believe.

Sound familiar?

In just a few hours Phil and I will tell our story. How we met and married with high hopes. And how, when pregnant with our first child, we realized we had no idea how to raise children who want Jesus. And how that scared us.

And I’ll look into the eyes of the mothers and I’ll see that same fear. We’ll know each other in that long look. The camaraderie that comes from a shared passion.

Every parent there wants what we wanted: children who grow into people who are passionate, all-in, wise, fruitful, faithful followers of Jesus.

We will spend hours talking and listening and teaching and delving into the Scriptures and praying and sharing stories and laughing at the ridiculousness of our dreams for our children.

And God will be here, bending down to listen.

I will tell these parents, so like us when we were young, about how we prayed, over and over again, for wisdom. How we held hands and cried out to the Father for what He promised in James 1v5:

If any of you lacks wisdom,

 let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach,

and it will be given to him. 

And then we’ll share with them the treasures He gave with so much generosity that we’re overwhelmed and overflowing. I’ll watch in wonder as they scramble to write it down, filling the notebooks with letters I cannot read.

And I’ll tell them that He’ll do the same for them, here, on the other side of the world. With Macedonia’s snow capped mountains off in the distance and Greece right behind us, Phil and I will pour ourselves into a new generation of parents in the hope that they will pour into a new generation of Albanians who will, in turn, raise up a new generation of leaders who will bring Jesus to a country that desperately needs Him.

Will you pray for these people? These parents? This generation?

And will you pray for me? For us?

I have relished praying for those of you who dare to dream with God. Keep telling me those stories and I will keep hoping with you and praying for you.

From my heart far from home,










One day, a while back, I asked a group of friends this question: If someone gave you a million dollars, and told you that you must spend it on yourself within one year or you’d have to give it back… what would you do with it? 

I didn’t leave them much time to think about it lest everyone get too lyrical and logical about the idea. I was after visceral reactions. I wanted to hear dreams.

One by one we went around the circle of fifteen, each woman dream-spending one million dollars on themselves. What the solid majority of my friends (young and old[er}) wanted was….

To travel.

I was stunned. Really? Because, you see, I grew up traveling all over Europe with my family. When we came home from our time of living overseas I was in high school and I promised myself that I would never travel again. Ever.

I am perfectly happy staying in my cute little cottage with occasional forays to the mountains or the seaside.

If I had a million dollars that I just had to spend on me… I’d find a vintage A-frame cabin on a lake and fix it up just so, then host Comer family and friend vacations as often as possible. And sometimes I’d go alone, all that introverted side of me flourishing in the silence.

When I told my daughter, Bekah, (who absolutely loves to travel whenever and wherever possible) about my surprise at my friends’ dreams, she couldn’t stop laughing. “Mom, everyone wants to travel!”

And though she didn’t say it, I could hear her thinking just what you’re thinking now: that I am really, really weird… or odd… or something along those lines.

Do you want to know where I am right now?

On a plane bound for Albania.

I know, I know, I don’t deserve this. Or the two days we’ll explore the rich history in Thessalonica, Greece. And certainly not the weekend we’ll stay in Donnes, an Albanian resort town on the Adriatic Sea.

And I’m asking myself the same question you’re asking: Why me?

In the past couple of years I have traveled to Uganda, Brussels, Haiti, Hawaii, Germany, Austria, Italy, Indonesia and Albania. Plus, on the home front, I’ve spent time in Santa Cruz, L.A., Palm Desert, San Francisco, Vancouver, Eugene, and Newport.

And I don’t (or at least I didn’t) like to travel!

Here’s what I know:

God is a giver of dreams… and God is bigger than our dreams.

Which is why I am drinking coffee at 30,000 feet.

My secret dream was born over thirty years ago when I began to ask God for wisdom I didn’t have. A fairly new follower of Jesus with our first baby in my arms, my asking was pretty desperate.

What do I do? How do I do this? Help! 

I had no idea how to raise children to follow Jesus— I hardly knew how to follow Him myself! And so I prayed and then I introduced myself to the mother of the godliest teenagers I knew and asked if she’d teach me. Laurie Keyes was everything I wanted to be: wise, godly, consistent, joyful, so full of passion for Jesus that just to be in conversation with her was like being at a retreat. And she was (and still is!) strikingly beautiful, with that kind of glow that all the fancy clothes and cosmetics in the world cannot create.

I listened and I learned and wrote notes and read every book I could get my hands on that had anything to do with the spiritual nurturing of children. For decades!

And somewhere in there I started to want to find a way to pass on all this richness to others who, like me, don’t have a clue. 

The wanting led to dreaming. The dreaming led to praying. The praying led to a whole lot of work. The work led to… a dream come true.

This morning as I hustled about tidying up my cottage (because everyone knows that you’ve just got to leave your house absolutely perfectly clean when going on a trip! Which, surprise, surprise, Phil thinks it utter nonsense!!), something dawned on me… something profound… something it’s taking me far too many words to tell you…

God knows the me that I am.

I thought I wanted to stay in my cottage in the woods, to live simple and quiet.

And that is, indeed, a part of who I am. But there’s more, and I didn’t know it. Now I know…

I was made for this.

I love this adventure. I love packing my bags, reading ahead about where we’re going, saving up frequent flyer miles so I can take my now-grown kids with me someday.

I love meeting new people, making new friends, finding soul-sisters all over the world. I relish tasting new foods (Albanian food is the best! All feta cheese and fresh peppers), I love learning how people around the world do life.

Most of all, I love doing this with Phil, whose love of travel and willingness to lead the way makes him the best companion imaginable. (Plus, he gets up every morning no matter where we are and finds the absolutely best coffee to be had and brings it to me so I can drink it in bed. How’s that for the real deal kind of love?)

Today we fly across the world to teach parents in Durres, Albania how to raise children who are passionate followers of Jesus. They are the first generation of Believers in a country that was officially atheist until just over 20 years ago. They don’t know what they’re doing any more than I did. And they want to learn, just like I did.

I can hardly wait to get there! Me, the woman who made that ridiculous promise to myself. Do you think God may have been chuckling?

Do you have a dream? 

Because I think— no, I know— that…

God has tasks for you that combine all of who you are with all of who He is in a dream big enough to change the world. 

There’s probably risk involved and you’ll undoubtedly be way out of your comfort zone at times. You may have to try some things you don’t think you like, and you’ll certainly have to work hard and long.

And oh, the joy! Because…

There is nothing, absolutely nothing, so fun as doing the dreams God has for you.

From my heart, high in the sky,


P.S. Okay, here’s your open door:

Will you dare to dream right here in black and white? Write it down for all to see, this dream you barely dare. I, for one, will pray for each and every one of you. For courage, for hope, for help— for joy.







HE'S NOT YOUR PRINCE CHARMING: he's not my everything

On this Monday in mid-August I am relishing time with my family in the mountains of California. We’ve gathered our growing family— fifteen of us now— in a rare moment to focus just on each other. Allison, a member of the team that creates this blog, agreed to write this week’s post Her story is as unusual as her life: occasionally glamorous and exciting, often times lonely, rarely what she’d planned. She is learning, along with all of us, what it means to put her hope wholly in God.

From My Heart,



I sit here across from a handsome tattooed man at our hand-me-down dining table, and am faced with the task of trying to sum up the millions of life lessons I've already learned since saying, "I do."

Where do I begin?

How can I possibly begin to explain to you how this gentle yet rugged man can melt me with a few guitar chords and his raspy voice?

Will I be able to explain to you how my heart sinks every time we pull up to the airport?

Or how my butterflies flare up every time I return to pick him up outside of baggage claim?

How week after week of saying goodbye never gets easier, and how each time he returns from a trip I am equally as nervous and excited to see him as I was the last time. Is it possible to sum up the stretching that took place as I moved across the country with this man?

Can I properly portray our odd lifestyle in just one short blog?

Well... here goes nothin'...

Making the decision to marry Nick was the easy part. There was not a doubt in my mind I was ready to marry this man. It was the calling that came with being his wife that held some weighty requirements. He had been preparing the field, tilling the grounds of his music career in Nasvhille, TN for three years, and upon saying our vows, I promised to join him in making our home there as a couple.

Leaving all I'd ever known behind in Portland, I climbed shakily into that ten foot Budget truck heading east 2300 miles to my new home. I remember looking in the side mirror as my family waved goodbye, running through my list of fears and what if's. Then looking to my left at my steady driver, I took a deep breath and smiled. God had called me to this life, and I was ready for it to begin.

We arrived in the southern June humidity, unloaded our truck, and then Nick left straight to the studio to record their new album. He's part of a Christian rock band called Kutless, and our honeymoon had just clipped into their studio time. It was "hello new town, new house, new friends," and "bye bye husband!" Not forever, but definitely often. While learning how to live with my new roommate, I was also having to say goodbye to him every few days for days and weeks at a time.

Our foundation for communication was built on choppy cell service, busy dressing rooms, and sorting through disagreements in the back of a crowded tour bus. With no guarantees of finishing conversations, we very quickly learned that relying on "ideal conditions" was never going to be an option for our marriage's success. Every band wife would agree that the following feaux gospel quote is most true: "Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not break."

My most remembered application of this quote happened this past November, when Nick and I decided to move back to Portland. The month had a daunting tour schedule, leaving me to pack a bulk of the house alone and complete any finishing touches on our home before heading west. As expected, I became overwhelmed with anxiety both physically and mentally. My to do list's were a mile long, and all the while I was left missing my husband. With Nick in Norway nine hours ahead of me, our communication was minimal. I felt like I was being choked, and thought (foolishly) that I wouldn't be able to survive that week without Nick. Boy, what a dangerous place I had come to. It was then that I realized the place of idolship I had placed Nick in. His absence that week felt like devesation, but God was using it to help me to lean more heavily on Him, the One who holds ALL things together.

I spent that week pouring my heart out to Jesus, and was delightfully enveloped and filled with love and the strength I needed for that week of packing. Nick was no where in sight, and I MADE IT! Would the packing have been easier with him there? Absolutely! However, I would have never learned that valuable life lesson of trust and sufficiency in God alone.

I am so grateful.

For me it's taken having a husband who is away two thirds of the year to realize my need to depend solely on Jesus for my joy and strength.

Maybe for some of you single girls, it's been the challenge of simply being single that's urged you into romance with your Maker.

For the mamas up nursing in the middle of the night, it's Jesus who's there calming your weary heart.

For the widow, or divorcee, it's the hurts and loss that brings you to Jesus' feet.

Our life is anything but ordinary, but after two years, I feel like I've learned to love it. It has taught me so much about myself and my relationship with God. Things I would have never learned otherwise. I've learned that we live in a world of uncertain circumstances. Things to wait for, people to miss, hearts that break, worries to combat, but the truth that rings through to our weary souls is that God is, and always will be sufficient for us.

He is the only answer to our trials. The refuge we need to run to first amidst fires and storms.

If I've learned anything in my not-so-normal marriage to this musician husband of mine, it's that he is not the answer to my problems.

God is.

Ladies, I truly believe that what we would define as "lack" in our lives, is actually a space that God wants to fill. I want to challenge you (and myself) to know that no matter what status you hold, married, single, divorced, you are not lacking. When we seek fulfillment from the desires of our flesh, we will always be left wanting (yes, even with a husband), but with Jesus you are FULL, lacking nothing.

Even the most adventorous and exciting life with my husband has had it's challenges, but the times that we soar the most is when Jesus is on the throne of our hearts.

"Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33